Thursday, 31 March 2016

Anchor Swallowing

I have just realised that it is 60 years exactly since I joined my first ship as a Deck Apprentice.
That means that is 50 years since I 'swallowed the anchor', a slang term for replacing the oceans and ships as mistresses and seeking gainful employment ashore with a wife, a house and a pair of offspring.
Nothing unusual in that, but if you look at the shape and size of an anchor you will see that they are kinda awkward to swallow. But hey, I have no regrets ... well maybe one or two.
Now I am happy to watch the ships at anchor at the end of the road as they swing with each tide before resuming their 'lawful occasions' elsewhere.
All the pictures in this post are from elsewhere on the web with my usual thanks to their originators.
I lust after this journal but cannot, for the life of me, remember where I found the picture so if you know ...?
And finally, when the north easterly is too strong or chilly for cliff top walking and ship watching ... well there's always this fantastic album with la-la music and ocean sounds from Dan Gibson.
Until next time ... thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 26 March 2016


1130 March 25th 2016 Margate
The sun shone, the wind dropped and it was 15 degrees on the seafront as the first visitors of the year flooded into town.
The shops that closed for winter were resplendent if fresh paint and the long awaited Old Kent Market, on the seafront opposite the harbour, opened its doors after a long and costly renovation from its former dereliction and even older snooker hall and kinema days!
An amazingly eclectic mix of fresh food and other stalls including a full size street food double deck bus [Reg Nr BLAKEYS] ... with more to come in the next few days.
50 years ago -from a CD cover of good old rock n roll of the time Easter 1966
Today marks 8 years since my last ever cigarette and more happily, 5o years since my lady and I became officially engaged. Aw! Shucks!
And finally, another Ah-ha springtime moment.
May your life be wonderful at Easter too.
From the internet with thanks

Thursday, 24 March 2016


Have a great holiday weekend ...
March 23rd 1100 hrs  ... Waterstones/Caffe Nero ... Westwood Cross Broadstairs

Monday, 21 March 2016


'The flywheel keeps the works going round on the idle strokes'
I may well have answered a homework question like this back in my school days, complete with an appropriate illustration.
There have been too many recent idle strokes around this blog owing to an annoyingly persistent cold. Time enough to rediscover an old favourite book which could be an object lesson to some of todays' folk who obsess over having exactly the right pen, ink, notebook and perfect ambience for writing in their journal.

Eleven monthly, hand made, issues of The Flywheel were produced in the horrible conditions of a Nazi POW  camp Stalag IVB during 1944.
Some original pages are at The Imperial War Museum in London and my book of facsimile pages was published in 1987. Long out of print, used copies are still available on line.
No point in reproducing the on-line reviews here but do take a look at this inspiring and amusing book and marvel at the enthusiasm and talents of those determined to create their own magazine.
I should add that these standards of writing, spelling grammar and illustration were not at all unusual back in the day. These examples are pretty typical of what my classmates and I were still expected to create daily [and did produce!] during the 1940s and early '50s.

Friday, 18 March 2016


... Just one last drive man, please! ...
Photography by Dominic Bugatto  - an Englishman living in Canada
Featured in on line magazine 'Inspired Eye'
No, I have not turned my back on photography but I am not sufficiently keen to shiver in the teeth of a damp North Easterly wind at 3 degrees in pursuit of a long term interest.
Since the end of 2015, when most monthly photo magazines averaged a fiver or more per copy ... and where copy meant just that, more of the same old, same old ... I stopped buying them. Just like that.
This picture reminded me of my beloved 1972 MGB [in white!] that was last seen floating around Broadstairs and gently rusting away with dignity after failing to raise the energy to pass an other MOT. I sold it for £50 during the 1980's, 'as seen for spares'.
I miss it. I miss real magazines too. Inspired Eye offers 200 pages per month for around £1 a copy. Good value, even if it does have to be read on screen.   That I guess, is the price of progress?

Friday, 11 March 2016

Mood Indigo

As usual, a left click or two may make it larger, but read on anyway?
Mood Indigo ... Moody Blues ... What a shame that such a wonderful colour when applied to the sea, the sky and my lady's eyes, has been hijacked to describe melancholic feelings.
I guess that, for 99% of the time, I am a happy and upbeat positive outlooking kind of guy. Certainly never the 'life and soul of the party extrovert' but not a sad sack either.
Even so, there have been a dozen or so times in my adult life when the outlook has been less than wonderful and it is then that I have briefly wallowed in self pity and actually enjoyed sharing the bitter sweet lyrics of some brilliant writers.
For reading [print on paper please ! Always !] I prefer the poems of Rod McKuen. He was once America's biggest selling poet and I am pleased that he got onto the springboard to success by self publishing  his first book. Weepy movies are not my thing at all but recordings ... yep, they do it for me when I need alone moments of reflective introspection.
I have tried works by Leonard Cohen but, maybe because they featured so significantly in my teens and twenties, Mr.Sinatra's interpretations of songs from the Great American Songbook and elsewhere can lead me out of places where I don't want to linger too long. Surely healthier, safer and cheaper than popping pills. 
I once had most of these 33 featured albums on long playing 12" discs. Now, thanks to some bargain re-issues on CD, the entire sets, totalling some 340 tracks can be had for around £40.
That must be an absolute bargain compared with their original prices.
My man flu is getting better ... the local seasonal shops are opening up again or prepping for Easter ...the daffodils are breaking through ... so I leave you with a trio of 'happy snaps' via the web.

coffee time Italian style

Friday, 4 March 2016

March Miscellany


The street light opposite switched off at 0620 today. Last week it stayed alight until 20 minutes later. A sure sign that Spring is here ... almost!


This page is typical of the type of book that got me into journaling many moons ago at sea. More recently, like 8 years ago, I bought into the wonderful world of the Travelers Notebook system. At around £20 a pop I have hit big-time sales resistance to their latest offering, a 10th anniversary limited edition [below]

The notebook comes in a tin but beware ... it is 5cm tall ...that's around 2"

Or, smaller than a book of stamps and, when opened out, roughly the size of a standard coffee shop portion of sugar!

 I found a book that delighted me last week, it is probably only to be recommended for gentlemen of a certain age as mere youngsters will just 'not get it'.  Two brief extracts follow below ...

On the topic of brief extracts this next from our local paper ...
He still calls them 'snaps' ... how quaint!  But 3000 !  Not exactly selective then !  So I shall leave you until next time with just ONE photograph,
 the model is Sophia ...

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Golden Hour Harborside

Copyright Photo by Patrick Ng via Flickr
An unscheduled post to show off a fantastic photo and a short tale that only a parent could write.
Such a beautiful day I spent with my kid on the harbour front cycling. I want more time with him going to places.
Too bad he has a mild fever now but that makes us closer as father and son while his mom is away on business.
This kid had been crying and her mom took her away from the others for a little girls talk in this golden hour I happened to witness.
Patrick Ng   28.02.2016
Patrick lives in Hong Kong and we have been in occasional contact for the last 7 or 8 years. I still admire his prolific picture making and vast talent in many fields so I can forgive him calling me 'The Old Man of Margate' and even largely abandoning his ever entertaining Scription blog in favour of Tweeting and Instagramming ... such a shame!
Love his differential focus here and the inclusion of his own Travelers Notebook and kitbag in the foreground and, at least some of the time, he still uses real cameras instead of phone devices ... so there is still hope!